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Can’t see advantage …

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:37 pm
by Tomahawk Leader
A letter in the Aug. 14 Tomahawk Leader:

Citizens of Merrill School District:

To those of you who didn’t attend the Merrill School District’s annual meeting, it’s really a shame, it was quite enlightening. I did and I wondered … “How much communication is there between the board and the superintendent?” When the superintendent was asked her salary, she was silent, as was the chairman of the meeting. Asked a second time … the chairman stated “$123,000.” This was met with an explosive “$123,000!” from Mr. Montabon (good job!) He then asked the audience how many of them survive on $30,000. … He … asked if this included benefits. Answer: “No.” So our superintendent is receiving $148,000 a year. How can the Merrill District support this kind of salary when many citizens are living on $30,000 a year? When asked how they decided on her income the chairman stated it’s based on the salary other school in the valley pay. What is the population of these other valley school districts? How does their industry compare with Merrill’s? … The citizens in Merrill School District are hurting. Couldn’t this superintendent’s job be let out on bids with an interview to judge the individual? I really wonder how the present superintendent was evaluated. Between the lack of industry and the cost of living, citizens can’t stay afloat, but they are supposed to support a superintendent at $148,000 a year? Why do we have to come up with additional tax dollars to hire her a lawyer?

It’s time that the entire school district stands up and make the administrative board accountable. Not just Gleason. It’s quite evident from the comments that I’ve heard that many of Merrill’s citizens also have doubts about our administration. You’ve read the negative comments about the Gleason community, but you should all be proud of this community that is trying to keep democracy a part of our local area. We need to work on getting this dictatorship squelched before you have no voice in procedures and more tax dollars are squandered away on unnecessary expenses.

… What is it costing to furnish this alternate school? Is all new equipment and furnishings being bought for that? Will this alternate location be rent-free for as long as you want it? … What exactly is it costing to set up this location? How many students do you have enrolled? Why couldn’t these students have attended NCTI? Questions, questions, questions. Are they ever answered in a pointblank way. A lot of hedging. Start trying to find the answers.

… Gleason is not just concerned about their Midway School. They’re concerned about where our educational system is heading when there seems to be no concern about our rural students. These smaller schools in the outlying areas have been a plus to our school systems in so many ways …

“Where is this all going to end?” With one big school in the city to accommodate all grades K-12? Do you want your child in such a program? Start speaking out and ask yourselves, “Why does Midway want to keep their school so badly?” What really are the advantages of transporting all students to town …? I sure can’t see an advantage.

Marcia Rankin

Re: Can’t see advantage …

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:25 pm
by Dave
$123,000 in base salary is probably at the high end for this area, but it is certainly well within the ballpark for a competent District Administrator. Actualy, the hiring process for an administrator is pretty much what you asked for in your letter: the job is advertised and applicants are interviewed. I would caution that you usualy get what you pay for in the education business. See what kind of qualifications you are going to get advertising for a District Administrator in whatever you think is a reasonable range. Oh by the way, when you are trying to figure out what that range should be, I suggest you go back to your teacher pay scale and see what you are already paying those in the upper echelons. You might be more surprized by those figures than you were by the Administrator's salary. Also, remember that your teachers aork only 9 months while most administrators are on the books all year long, so take that teacher salary figure and multiply it by 1.25 to get the real cost. All of a sudden, $123,000 does not seem like too much at all.

Remember that it is easy to be critical of things you don't really know much about. Once you have the full picture, I am sure your tune will change. If you are really all that interested, you should run for election to the Board. Then you would be able to help solve the very real problems facing your school district rather then just standing on the sidelines throwing barbs at those who are trying to get something done. If running a school district was an easy job, everyone would be doing it and good administrators would be a dime a dozen. The reason why they cost so much is because the job that they do is very difficult, it takes a lot of knowledge and abilityto do it, you will get no thanks from anyone no matter how well you do it, and almost nobody else even wants to try.

Re: Can’t see advantage …

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 9:17 pm
by Catfish
10 years ago a certain elementary school principal was knocking down $79,000 and his wife, a teacher was knocking down $49,000. Total $128,000. Multiply by 1.25 equals $160,000. At the time I couldn't believe when they sided their house they got an outfit from Wausau. Then they roofed their house with a roofer from Wausau. Merrill and Lincoln County were paying their salary. Weren't there any local siders and roofers to choose from? Go and figure! Gratitude!

Re: Can’t see advantage …

Posted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:26 pm
by Jeff Boettcher
Let's say you're personally are going to do a "home improvement". Who's bid will you accept? (You're already on record on this board for saying you'd buy a truck/car part in Merrill because it was cheaper.)

Why hold these folks to a different standard?

<small>[ August 27, 2007, 10:42 PM: Message edited by: Jeff Boettcher ]</small>

Re: Can’t see advantage …

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 11:24 pm
by Dave
Not to answer for the Fish, but school district administration is one of those things that most people really don't want to be handled by the lowest bidder. Car parts are one thing, but this is another completely.

The real issue that lurks underneath all of this is that the Board and the administrator made some unpopular but necessary decisions for the school district. Some folks have decided to take it personaly, and are using some indirect means to call the judgement of both the Board and the administration into question. It is unfortunate that events have turned this way. Everyone concerned should stick to the real issues and work to solve the problems.